Category: Rheumatology

Welcome to the Infusion Center! An FAQ on Infusion Treatments for Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases

Attune Health is proud to offer a comprehensive suite of services, including our brand new infusion center that uses intravenous treatments to combat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

We’d like you to feel comfortable and welcome in our infusion center. Here the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

 

Intravenous infusions mean needles, right?

Yes, the treatment is delivered directly into the bloodstream through a vein, usually located in your arm or your hand. The infusion is a controlled administration of your medication through that IV. And we have some of the most experienced and caring nurses and physicians you can find to make your treatment as comfortable as possible.

 

What does it look like in the infusion center?

Our infusion suite is located in naturally lit corner space, with floor-to-ceiling windows. You will receive your treatment in one of our six soft and luxurious reclining chairs. We also have a limited amount of space for family members and friends.

We keep a supply of pillows and blankets for your comfort and you are more than welcome to bring your own. While we have a variety of magazines in our lobby, we encourage you to bring snacks or lunch and something to entertain yourself during your treatment, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, headphones, books or magazines.

The infusion center offers exceedingly fast Wi-Fi with wall plugs and USB ports that are easily accessible during your treatment. The center also offers water, coffee and hot tea to our patients and we have hard candy and saltine crackers available.

 

What conditions do you treat in the infusion center?

Our goal is to get you on the path to better health. The infusion center delivers treatment for a host of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Sjogren’s syndrome, JRA, mixed connective tissue disease, anemia, osteoporosis, uveitis, pemphigus, nephritis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, Behcet’s disease and  reflex sympathetic dystrophy Syndrome (RSD)/ complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

 

What medication do you administer and how does it work?

We use nearly two dozen medications in our infusions center, including biologic therapies. These biologics treat the condition by zeroing in on a specific molecule or target. Biologics are a precision science and we are proud to have a trained team in our clinic to deliver them.

Here are some of the medications administered in the infusion center. Click here for a complete list.

  • Actemra
  • Aredia
  • Benlysta
  • Boniva
  • Cinqair
  • Cytoxan
  • Entyvio
  • Injectafer
  • IVIG
  • Kyrstexxa
  • Nucala
  • Reclast

 

How long do the infusions take?

Infusions times vary depending on the medication being infused. Infusions can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours.  Aside from the slight discomfort of having the IV catheter inserted, patients should not feel anything while getting the infusions.

 

Why do infusions instead of oral medication or injections? What’s the science?

Infusible medications fall into several categories. The first and most common type of medicine infused at Attune Health are biologics. These are targeted molecules that work on a specific biological target.  For example, TNF blockers work against the molecule tumor necrosis factor or TNF.  These  TNF blockers have been used for about 20 years for treating a variety of rheumatological illnesses. While some come in injection form, others, such as infliximab (Remicade) can only be given by infusion. Other medications can be more comfortably given by infusions rather than injection in the arm or another part of the body.

An infusion eliminates the variability of absorption from an injection that is given subcutaneously in the arm.  This may play a role especially in an overweight patient as the injection in the arm may not work as well. Additionally the infusions bypass the need for absorption through the GI tract.

Another category of medications that are infused treat osteoporosis.  In the case of osteoporosis medication, bisphosphonates in particular are notorious for poor absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.  Additionally, taking a pill and standing up for 45 minutes once a week as required is cumbersome for a lot of patients.

The third category of medicines that are infused at Attune Health are iron infusions. Intravenous iron can help replete iron stores in the body especially in patients or having chronic loss of iron.

We at Attune Health have more than 20 years of experience treating patients with biologics.  This is what distinguishes our infusion center from others. We are trained to deal with emergency situations, and our doctors, nurses and physician assistants are trained to deal with potential infusion reaction.

 

How will I feel after I’m done?

This is completely dependent on the medication you receive.  Most of our patients do go to work or school after their infusions, but everybody responds to medications differently so we typically tell patients to see how they feel after the first couple of infusions to determine what level of activity they will be able to tolerate after their infusions.

Some of the medications can cause patients to feel tired and achy for a couple of days, so in that instance it is best if they are able to rest. There are also some infusions that require patients to be pre-medicated with an antihistamine like Benadryl, which can cause drowsiness. Those patients are informed of this prior to the appointment so they can arrange to have someone drive them.

 

Is this expensive?

Cost varies by medication and treatment plan, but the infusions are covered by several insurance companies and health plans. Our staff at Attune Health can help verify your benefits and obtain pre-authorizations. We also run a benefits analysis to assess any possible co-pays or deductibles.

We are extremely successful in petitioning companies to provide patients with financial assistance as needed.

 

How can I schedule an appointment to try it?

You can call our office at (310) 652-0010 to schedule an appointment to talk about your treatment options. We have an easy referral process and we are open to accepting non-Attune Health Patients into our infusion center.

If you have any other questions about our infusion center or any of our other treatments, please call us at (310) 652-0010.